Migration of IT Specialists and Gender

Migration of IT Specialists and Gender

Elena Gapova (European Humanities University, Belarus)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 4
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-815-4.ch141
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The purpose of this article is to analyze “after the shift,” which occurred in the second half of the 20th century, from a goods-producing society to an information or knowledge society, as information technology (IT) began to be seen as a most important asset of contemporary nations. Bell argued in 1973 that in the new social order, knowledge and information would replace industrial production, and would become the “axial principle” of social organization (Bell, 1973). By the end of the 20th century, IT has also become a truly global phenomenon, involved with the reconfiguration of the labor market and human and material resources from all over the world. Gary Becker, the 1992 Nobel laureate in economics, pointed out that the United States’ (U.S.) Silicon Valley currently employs 1 million people, of whom 40% have at least a bachelor’s degree and more than one-third are foreign-born. In the new information economy, special importance is assigned to IT researchers and developers, who belong to the global group of “knowledge workers.” In the post-industrial era, IT workers have skills that allow them to compete in the global labor market, as IT jobs, by their very nature, are not tied to any particular culture and “can work” anywhere. At the same time, IT production is labor-intensive, and many first-world nations (Britain, Germany, France, Ireland, the U.S.), which have undergone a reduction in birthrates, feel that their own human resources are not sufficient for its development. In 2000, the American Institute for Electric and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) recognized that “With declining numbers from national engineering graduate programs, the U.S. has no option but to satisfy the growing need for the engineering professionals from abroad” (Institute, 1999). To bring professionals into the country, the U.S., the biggest IT developer, introduced an employer-based H1-B visa program for specialty occupations (e.g., computer professionals, programmers or engineers).

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